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Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq., Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 105131
Experience:  10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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I am a US citizen, my wife is canadian with a card. Four

Customer Question

I am a US citizen, my wife is canadian with a green card. Four years ago we moved to Canada but didn't file the I-94? Form before she left. We have returned to visit the US every year... Her green card expires next year and we'd like to renew her green card as we still don't know whether we will stay in Canada. Is there any way to renew now from Canada?
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

Hello! My name is***** and I am a licensed attorney with more than 14 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help.

This is a problem. A Lawful Permanent Residency is for someone that intends to permanently reside in the U.S. and is actually doing so. Not for someone that is just coming to the U.S. to visit from time to time.

Anyone that is a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and is outside of the U.S. for 180 days or more within any 12 month period (not necessarily calendar year) creates a rebuttable presumption of abandonment of residency. That presumption can be rebutted by evidence to the contrary such as filing U.S. taxes, maintaining a home in the U.S. and paying that mortgage or rent, maintaining a U.S. drivers license, U.S. bank accounts with significant movement, etc.

Someone that has been outside of the U.S. for more than 1 year without first having an approved re-entry permit has abandoned their residency and only in very few exceptions (such as serious illness) can they get it back.

Here is an official link:

This may become a problem in one of your trips back into the U.S., when you apply to renew your residency card, or when you apply for U.S. Citizenship.

Unfortunately, she has to be in the U.S. to have her fingerprints taken. They will not take them outside of the U.S., so she has to renew from inside of the U.S. Hopefully, she can get a renewal without issue, but she really needs to start spending more time in the U.S.

If that will not be possible, at least at the beginning, once she has U.S. Lawful Permanent Residency, she can apply for a Re-Entry Permit on form I-131. This will allow her to be outside of the U.S. for up to 2 years. She can use it for multiple trips. If she needs more time, she comes back before the 2 years ends and then she can apply for one more Re-Entry Permit for 2 more years. If she still needs more time, she can apply again, but after 4 years, they get harder and harder to get and often only grant them for one year at a time. At some point she will need to start living in the U.S. and spending more than 180 days per 12 months inside. Here is a link to the I-131:

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions and there is no additional charge. Also, should you need to chat on the phone, private email or need help reviewing documentation, I am happy to do so for a small additional cost. Let me know if you are interested in these – I am happy to give you more details! If you have no further questions (at this time) please leave a positive rating for my service. I would sincerely ***** ***** You can do that by clicking on the 3rd, 4th or 5th stars or smiley faces if you see them. If you do not see any stars or smiley faces, you may have to scroll up to the top of the page or click on my name and they should come out. Also, your session does NOT close when leaving a positive rating, so you can continue to ask additional questions without additional charge. Thank you for your understanding.

Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

Hello Michael. I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help? Please let me know. Thank you!